NPR: “Georgia's Giant Clay Pots Hold An 8,000-Year-Old Secret To Great Wine”

Winemaker Iago Bitarishvili makes wine in clay vessels called qvevri, which he buries underground and fills with white grapes. Photo by Daniella Cheslow, Jun 10, 2015, Tbilisi, Georgia

The web-edition of America’s National Public Radio (NPR) is taking an interest in ancient Georgian winemaking traditions, particularly the use of Georgia’s unique qvevri (clar jar).

"Georgia's winemaking heritage goes back 8,000 years and centers on the qvevri, a cavernous terra-cotta pot shaped like an egg, lined with beeswax and buried to the mouth underground. But these ancient vessels were sidelined by the industrial wine production dictated by seven decades of Soviet rule. Over the past 10 years, however, qvevri wine has slowly recovered. Today, it is a calling card for Georgian wine around the world,” says NPR.

Author of the article, Daniela Chelsow, explains why the wine made in qevri jars are special and superior to the wine made in barrels.

"Because qvevri are buried underground, the earth's temperature remains relatively constant. The qvevri's torpedo shape allows sediment to collect at the pointed bottom of the vessel, while the wine naturally moves around the middle.”

"There's a lot of wine in Georgia made in barrels or in stainless steel … but it really is the qvevri that put Georgian wine on the map for quality wine."

The author also noted that UNESCO had recently recognised qvevri as an element of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".

Read the full article here: